I had an identity issue’: Basketball connects urban Indigenous player with his roots – CBC

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I had an identity issue’: Basketball connects urban Indigenous player with his roots – CBC

by ahnationtalk on February 18, 202095 Views

Gene Wolff didn’t understand his Nisga’a heritage until he joined their team

Feb 17, 2020

It was a surreal moment for Gene Wolff in the championship game of the men’s masters division of the 2020 All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert on B.C.’s North Coast.

In the game’s dying seconds, Wolff and the Gitlaxt’aamiks Gitmidiik Masters were down 66-64 to perennial champs Hydaburg. With two seconds left, Gene watched as his brother Richard scored a three-point shot putting Gitmidiik up 67-66, winning the game and the 2020 championship.

The moment was surreal because, for Wolff, playing basketball isn’t only about winning a championship. It’s also how the 39-year-old urban Indigenous man learned to connect with his home First Nation in Northern B.C. Considering he knew very little about Indigenous traditions until his late teens, connecting through basketball to his identity as a Nisga’a citizen has been an even bigger victory.

“I embrace my Nisga’a family and heritage [today], but I didn’t grow up with that,” said Wolff who was raised in East Vancouver. “I had an identity issue. I didn’t even know what being Indigenous was.”

Read More: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/all-native-basketball-gene-wolff-1.5466019

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